Definition of mulch in US English:



  • 1Material (such as decaying leaves, bark, or compost) spread around or over a plant to enrich or insulate the soil.

    • ‘Shredded leaves, conifer boughs, or straw all work well as winter mulch.’
    • ‘In fall I leave the foliage on my daylilies to act as winter mulch.’
    • ‘Applying mulch around the base of lilacs will help to keep weeds down.’
    • ‘To prevent dry soil, spread mulch around plants.’
    • ‘A thick blanket of mulch helps to hold the moisture in.’
    • ‘Cover with shredded bark mulch, straw, hay or evergreen boughs to protect them over the winter.’
    • ‘Add to the mulch layer if it breaks down to less than an inch.’
    • ‘Water in well and add more mulch as the plants grow.’
    • ‘Also, replenish mulch, and remove weeds that compete for nutrients.’
    • ‘Keep a circle of mulch around the tree, and continue fertilizing as needed.’
    • ‘Apply a three inches layer of shredded hardwood mulch on and around the planting to conserve moisture.’
    • ‘The bananas stay in the ground with a thick layer of leaf mulch to protect the roots from freezing.’
    • ‘Add two to three inches of bark mulch and your tree will be set.’
    • ‘Water regularly during dry spells and spread mulch around plants to keep roots cool and moist.’
    • ‘The new straw mulch also helps control weeds.’
    • ‘However, hardwood mulch tends to break down faster than softwood and may need to be reapplied sooner.’
    • ‘Be sure not to use pecan leaves or shells as mulch in the vegetable garden.’
    • ‘But removing the mulch in stages will help extend the harvest time.’
    • ‘Add mulch to control soil temperatures and insulate roots in winter; the tops may freeze.’
    • ‘Remove the mulch before growth resumes once the weather warms up the following spring.’
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An application of mulch.
      ‘regular mulches keep down annual weeds’
      • ‘A yearly mulch of quality compost is all the fertilization your grapes should need.’
      • ‘Earthworms often thrive under mulch and in general mulches usually help plants grow better.’
      • ‘Cultural practices used in organic gardening include the use of mulches, crop rotation, and common-sense things like simple hygiene.’
      • ‘Don't forget to add a mulch of pea straw to hold moisture and keep a cool root run.’
      • ‘Plastic mulches are frequently used in raised-bed culture to conserve water, control weeds with less herbicides, keep fruit clean and produce ripe berries earlier in the season.’
      • ‘Give all fruit a mulch of manure or compost, or dead leaves.’
      • ‘A thick bark chip mulch and little nectarine is all set.’
      • ‘Weeds are best controlled through regular cultivation and/or through the use of mulches.’
      • ‘Both organic and inorganic mulches have numerous benefits.’
      • ‘Sometimes, as mulches decompose, a layer of white fungal mycelium will develop, which also repels water - stir it up and keep the layer thin.’
      • ‘So-called organic vineyards use mulches of living plants as well as dead material.’
      • ‘The only protection between my new plants and the broiling sun was a thick mulch of rye straw.’
      • ‘Covering bare soil with a generous mulch of stable manure or compost is usually only practical for small areas.’
      • ‘The author also gives directions for gardening with weeds and various types of controls including using hoes and mulches.’
      • ‘If you are using mulches in your garden, you are providing good carabid habitat.’
      • ‘Outside chores consist of checking winter mulches, making sure there are plenty around trees, shrubs and perennials.’


[with object]
  • Treat or cover with mulch.

    • ‘Others had taken down a section of fence and begun cultivating and mulching the recently abandoned vegetable beds.’
    • ‘You want to mulch a little later, after the garden's gone to sleep.’
    • ‘In these zones, spring-flowering bulbs must be mulched during the winter due to the danger of frost damage.’
    • ‘Plant cool-weather vegetables such as beets, kale, lettuce, peas, radishes, spinach and turnips in late July, but keep them well watered and mulched.’
    • ‘If you haven't yet mulched your tomato plants, midsummer's the time to do it.’
    • ‘Water well and lightly mulch the soil between the drills.’
    • ‘The natural bush garden features mulched plants which require little, if any, watering.’
    • ‘Hostas should be planted in the soil and mulched lightly to help them through the freeze and thaw cycles.’
    • ‘Many gardeners prefer to mulch the beds with peat moss or grass clippings and do away with cultivating.’
    • ‘Sown in the spring for fall harvest, they also overwinter well when mulched heavily.’
    • ‘He stakes and cages the tomatoes, mulches the beds with grass clippings, and makes compost.’
    • ‘Mulch your soil (let it warm up first in northern gardens).’
    • ‘Mr Thomas said there is a range of things people can do to save water, including mulching the garden and covering swimming pools to reduce evaporation.’
    • ‘Empty the whole thing out and mulch your garden with the contents.’
    • ‘Wrap as much of your hibiscus as possible before a hard freeze, and water and mulch the roots.’
    • ‘If you are unsure because of harsh winters you may mulch the plants for extra protection.’
    • ‘Mulch the soil well to help absorb runoff and to block evaporation of moisture.’
    • ‘By mulching, cover cropping, and composting, you can work on the soil all season long.’
    • ‘Straw was commonly used to mulch the plants during the winter.’
    • ‘Wait a month, then lightly mulch the planted area.’
    till, plough, dig, turn, hoe
    View synonyms


Mid 17th century: probably from dialect mulch ‘soft’ used as a noun, from Old English melsc, mylsc.